„Actually, what I’m really like is very different. I just so rarely find time for it.“ (Ödön von Horváth)
If there’s one thing we don’t feel like doing at all, it’s becoming a company that fits this quote. That is why, in the last few months, we have worked particularly hard on understanding what makes up our identity.
Why are we doing this and isn’t it a bit late after twelve months?
We try to build a meaningful, people-centred and role-based organisation that remains true to its own values. When founding our company, we thought that we could quickly set in stone our purpose, values, vision, mission, etc. once and for all. That didn’t work out. We found out that we had attached a great deal of importance to the goal and far too little to the process of getting there. So, let’s start again from the beginning and get it right this time around.
The great SAPERED purpose tournament
In the beginning was the Purpose. We need meaning to exist in the long term. This isn’t something new, but it is still very difficult for us to track down this (common) purpose and to formulate it.
The purpose tournament of the Neue Narrative magazine helped us with this (Link to the tool). To keep it short: after defining our stakeholders, each employee drew up an individual purpose draft. We explained the drafts to each other in groups of two, only to discard both versions and to develop a new one based on the findings of the exchange. This updated version went on to the next round. We continued with this tournament-like process until we obtained the winner purpose draft.
We can recommend the tool to every company, but there’s a catch: instead of formulating a new purpose draft in each of the small groups, we took the best of both drafts and simply put them together. This was the path of least resistance but… it didn’t lead to a completely satisfactory result. We wanted to compromise and that didn’t work. So, a company should have learned to “argue” before it embarks in a purpose tournament.
A year ends, new possibilities lie ahead
Purpose does not replace vision, i.e., a very specific picture of what the world will look like in a few years’ time and what role SAPERED will play in it. We want to use the end of the year to refine our vision. Together with our partner me&company, we have started a series of workshops in December in which we are taking another, closer look at our vision to derive our strategy for the coming years. In short: we are asking ourselves what is currently the most promising path that we can take towards our vision. Our purpose draft and the values on which our endeavour is based indicate the way forward. In the next blog post we will be happy to tell you which methods we use, how we found to our values in the first place and how we manage to integrate all these things into our daily work. Spoiler alert: A really bad retrospective meeting helped us a lot. Stay tuned!